The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is a non-profit organization that assists children who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. Their site was being maintained for many years by a single employee approaching retirement. This employee (a self-taught programmer) not only managed the site’s content but also the half dozen custom databases with thousands of entries that he manually updated in phpMyAdmin. The magnitude of this is hard to convey to someone unfamiliar with SQL databases, but trust us when we say that we were floored to learn that this was the method they used to maintain their system of donors, patients, volunteers and prospective patients.
The “easy” part of this project was converting the design (provided by RHB) to a responsive WordPress template and building the 100+ static content pages. The real work was creating an admin system for all the databases, so that someone who wasn’t familiar with editing SQL tables could easily add, edit and update information on any of their databases. Additionally, the information on some of the databases needed to be accessible to the public in a way that they could search by a variety of methods (name, age, zip code, etc.) We then took these pages and tied them to the WordPress framework, so that when template elements were updated, they would carry over to these custom pages and sections as well.
In conclusion, the major portion of our work on this project isn’t going to be something you immediately notice when visiting the site. But there is a lot going on behind the scenes that made this one of our largest and most challenging (in a good way!) projects in terms of database development.